Benton 4th graders teach lesson in empathy and kindness 

Local News

BENTON, Ark. – An unlikely friendship is playing out at Ringgold Elementary in Benton. Two fourth graders are helping each other, out of the kindness of their hearts.

Andie Renteria and Ethen Patton are two peas in a pod.

Andie walks on crutches. He says he was born with a disease that can’t be cured. 

Teachers call Ethen a gentle giant. He’s 11 years old and about 5’8″. 

The two tend to always walk the halls together. Ethen grabs Andie’s backpack because in the 4th grade, they say, they have to carry a lot of stuff.

“It basically ended up being heavy for me because I felt like I was going to fall backwards,” Andie said. 

Ethen tries to help when he can.

“It looks very hard for him with the crutches and the backpack is pretty heavy most of the time,” Ethen said. 

Ethan says he’s learned to help others from his own family. 
“My grandma thinks that it’s just very nice to help people.” 

Teachers say the empathy the two have for each other developed on its own.

“Whenever I hear them talking about their friendship, it remains me there is so much good left in the world,” literacy teacher Lacee Glidewell said. 

It’s a lesson learned that can’t be taught in a book.  

“When you’re kind to others you help that person and that person will help the other person,” Andie said. 

The two say they will continue being friends and help each other as they go into middle school next year.

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